Keith County Farm Bureau member Matt Schwartzkopf cites an independent lifestyle and personal fulfillment as key reasons why he chose to enter into the ag industry. After growing up on a farm near Scottsbluff, Matt was inspired to pursue agriculture. He attended the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture
at Curtis and graduated with an associate’s degree in agricultural production systems and later began farming in the Ogallala area with his wife, Tina.
The Schwartzkopf operation is diverse; farm operations include producing corn, sugar beets, soybeans, hay, and a cattle herd. Matt also operates a commercial trucking business for cattle transportation. Although Nebraska’s sugar beet production may not be widely-known, the state excels in production of the crop mostly in the panhandle. Although the crop has relatively high input costs, the markets are generally steady and profitable for producers. Sugar beets on the Schwartzkopf farm are planted in mid-April and harvested in October. From there the crop is hauled to a processing plant near Scottsbluff. (Maybe some of the Schwarzkopf sugar beets made their way into sugar that you use for baking!) Matt’s family had grown the crop and it has now become a tradition for his generation.
The Schwartzkopfs have three children: Sadie, Samantha and John. Since Matt is often on the road for the trucking business, Tina manages the daily farm operations
during those times. As well as helping around the farm, Tina keeps busy by being a 4-H horse leader and church youth group leader.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau Agriculture in the Classroom
program makes several trips to their farm throughout the year and for the past five years, the Schwartzkopfs have hosted preschooler through fifth grade students to their farm. The experience has been a rewarding one for the family as they enjoy helping young students understand agriculture on a deeper level so that they can develop an appreciation for where their food products come from.
As Matt looks to the future, he believes that the opportunities for those in agriculture are promising. As always there are unknowns within the industry, however, with hard work and perseverance, agriculture will continue to be a positive influence in the future.